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Denmark to recognize Palestine if Social Democrats win polls, report says

Denmark will recognize an independent Palestinian state if the opposition Social Democrats win elections this year, a spokesperson for the left-wing party was quoted as saying Thursday.

"We have thought for years that the Palestinians have a right to a state, and when they ask us to recognize it we will," spokesperson Jeppe Kofoed told the Berlingske Tidende daily.

Other left wing parties, the Socialist People's Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party, have also said they would support the move.

However, Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen warned that such a unilateral initiative could have "more negative than beneficial" consequences.

"It is essential that a recognition also contributes to real political progress. And we are not there yet. That is why I do not want Denmark to go it alone in such an important question," she told Berlingske. "We need to coordinate with the EU."

A string of Latin American nations have in recent months unilaterally recognized an independent Palestinian state and several other countries have hinted they could follow suit in September - the target date set by US President Barack Obama for a state to be created.

Opinion polls show the centre-left looks set to return to power in elections that need to be called by November this year and unseat the centre-right government in power since 2001 with support of the far-right Danish People's Party.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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